MUNTAKHAB ULLUBAB, lit. selected (records) of the wise and pure, is a history of India written in Persian with an Arabic title by Muhammad Hashim or Hashim `Ali Khan, better known as Khafi Khan. Completed in 1722, the work was edited and printed by Maulawi KahTr ud Din in Calcutta sometime during 1768-74. Extensive extracts translated into English arc included in H.M. Elliot andJ. Dowson, The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, vol. VII, as also in William Erskine, History of India under Babar and Humayun.
The author was the son of Khwaja Mir, also historian, who had held a high station under Prince Murad, younger brother of Aurarig/Tb, and who continued service under the latter after the murder of his master. Muhammad Hashim, as he came of age, was put on various civil and military assignments by Emperor Aurarigzib (1658-1707). He continued to serve until the reign of Farrukh Siyar (1716-19) and was later a diwdn or minister under Nawab Chin Qilich Khan Nizam ulMulk, the founder Nizam of Hyderabad. The family is believed to have originally immigrated from Khwaf, a country town near Nishapur in Khurasan.
whence Hashim adopted his title Khafi (or more correctly Khwafi) Khan. The contents of Muntakhab ul Lubdb may be divided into three parts: the first deals with local dynasties up to the Lodhis; the second comprises a brief chronicle of the house of Taimur the Lame (d. 1405) up to Emperor Akbar including the Sur interlude; and the third and the most important part of the work covers almost a century and a quarter following the death of Akbar in 1605.
The author claims that the account of the last 53 years (1669-1722) was based on his personal observations or on the verbal testimony of people who had been witnesses to the events. The book is a valuable contemporary source of information about the period of Guru Gobind Singh and Banda Singh Bahadur. Upon Khafi Khan`s evidence, Aurarigzib had ordered that the Guru`s deputies, i.e. masands, be removed and the Sikh temples razed to the ground; when Emperor Bahadur Shah (1707-12) marched towards the Deccan, Guru Gobind Singh accompanied him with two or three hundred horsemen bearing spears; the death of the Guru was caused by a daggerstab.
About Banda Singh, Khafi Khan uses very harsh and abusive language, but admits that the government forces were unable to stand the onslaughts of the Sikhs in several parts of the Punjab. He also alludes to Banda Singh`s practice of writing to Mughal faujddrs to surrender before actually attacking them, to a code of conduct strictly followed by Sikh warriors, and to a proper, though shortlived, civil administration set up by Banda Singh in territories he had conquered. His contumelious tone notwithstanding, Khaft Khan pays tribute to the Sikhs` determination and daring, especially during their nocturnal attacks on the imperial forces and their deadly sallies when besieged. He has also recorded the heroic story of a young Sikh captive who refused to be spared the fate his comrades had met with despite the fact that his mother had obtained a royal decree for his release.
1. Khafi Khan, Muhammad Hashim, Muntakhab-ul-Lubab. Calcutta, 1874
2. John Dowson, J. and Elliot, Sir Henry M., History of India as told by its own Historians. London, 1877